Published on

6 November 2023

Recognition for work done to support Hongkongers living in Wokingham

A webinar to help Hongkongers navigate their way through the health care system has been recognised as a finalist for an award

Computer screen on a desk showing the health webinar for new residents for Hong Kong

A healthcare webinar jointly produced by Wokingham Borough Council and their partners to support people from Hong Kong (known as Hongkongers) arriving in the borough was recognised recently as a finalist for the best digital initiative at the annual Innovation in Public Health Awards 2023.

The awards, organised by the UK Public Health Register, were created to celebrate the exceptional work done by people in the field of public health to reduce health inequalities, in areas such as collaborative working, education training, translating evidence into practice, and social media campaigns.  

Whilst Wokingham Borough’s project was pipped at the post, being selected as a finalist for these important awards is a massive accolade for all the parties involved, and a recognition of the work being done to support some of the diverse communities which make up the borough.

Supporting the Hongkonger community

In 2021 the government created an immigration route that enabled Hongkongers to move to and settle in the UK. Following this, a large number of Hongkongers have moved to the area, leading to a surge in new patients registering with local healthcare providers.

Conversations between the council’s public health team, local doctors’ surgeries and other community partners identified that many of these residents were struggling with accessing healthcare at the right places due to the language barrier, as well as a lack of knowledge about how the UK health system worked. This in turn added demand and pressure on local organisations.

Working in partnership with these organisations and a community champion, the council’s public health team developed a healthcare webinar for these new residents.

The webinar was delivered in Cantonese, and focused on guiding Hongkongers through some of the key health information they would need. This includes an introduction on how to register with a GP, how to make appointments, where to go for mild health problems, and what to do in an emergency. The webinar also covered a range of wider health information such as common seasonal illnesses, and signposting to other health services such as opticians, dentists and mental health services.

Working in partnership to deliver great outcomes

Cllr David Hare, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, said: “To be recognised as a finalist for this prestigious award is a real testament to the great work the council has been doing with its partners. By working together with our GPs and healthcare services, we have been able to actively identify and tackle issues, and improve outcomes for all our residents, especially for those who were finding it harder to access our services in the right places.

“Those of us who grew up with the NHS might take our understanding of how the healthcare system works for granted and forget that these systems aren’t the same across the world. By working closely with our partners, we were able to get an understanding of what information our new residents needed and help fill in gaps of knowledge, making it easier to access the right services at the right time.

“Feedback from local doctors’ surgeries and partners since the webinar was released has been very positive. They have explained how it’s helped give Hongkongers, who I have personally witnessed are keen to learn and be involved I the community, a better understanding of how the systems work. It’s also helped reduce pressure on services with residents knowing which service they need to approach for different issues and reducing the time doctors needed to spend during appointments answering questions about accessing medication or ordering repeat prescriptions.” 

A popular and much needed resource

Since being recorded and posted to the council’s YouTube page, the Healthcare in the UK: A presentation for new residents from Hong Kong webinar has received more than 18,000 views, making it the most watched video the council has produced.

The webinar has also shown its importance to the wider Hong Kong community, with 33 per cent of those watching the recording still based in Hong Kong.

Viewers were also invited to complete an online survey after the initial launch of the webinar. Among the 400 responses received, 96 per cent said they would recommend the webinar to family and friends, and most said the video made them more confident in their knowledge of the UK healthcare system.

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